2 dog breeds join American Kennel Club's roster
NEW YORK: A hairless terrier and an ancient North African hound are ready to run with the pack of dog breeds recognised by the American Kennel Club.
The organisation announced Tuesday that the American hairless terrier and the sloughi have joined 187 other recognised breeds. The newcomers can now compete in most AKC shows and competitions, though not at the prominent Westminster Kennel Club show until next year.
Many American hairless terriers are, as advertised, bare-skinned, though others have short coats but carry the hairless gene. Their rise began when a hairless puppy emerged in a litter of rat terriers in the 1970s, wowing a Louisiana couple and leading to deliberate breeding of the hairless dogs, according to the American Hairless Terrier Club of America.
The lively, inquisitive terriers can do well at canine sports and as pets for people with dog-hair allergies.
"They're terrier-smart" but somewhat calmer than some other terrier breeds, said club secretary Lynn Poston of Fontana, California. "They're very easy to live with because they're very trainable."
The sloughi (pronounced SLOO-ghee), also called the Arabian greyhound, was developed to hunt game as big as gazelles. The lean, leggy dogs have some similarities to salukis, another hound breed from North Africa.
Sloughis are known for speed, endurance, grace and rather reserved demeanors.
"They are very attentive to their family, but they are not the kind of dog that will jump on your lap - they are not after you all the time," says Ermine Moreau-Sipiere of Como, Texas, president of the American Sloughi Association. She has owned them for nearly 40 years.
The dogs need patient training, opportunities to exercise, and a substantial fence if they're allowed to be loose in a yard because they may follow their hunting instinct far and wide if they spy prey, she said.
Criteria for AKC recognition include having several hundred dogs of the breed nationwide.
Some animal-rights advocates are critical of dog breeding and emphasise that many mixed-breed dogs need adoption. The AKC says breed characteristics help owners anticipate a dog's characteristics and make an enduring match.